Bell Eveningstar

Use floating line for the painters. I use the nice braided 3/8" polypro that’s used in throwbags.

I’ve found that the most convenient way to store them is to add a bungee loop or two to the deckplates. The photo shows one method. On our current Bell the bungee runs side-to-side so it’s easier to pull out the coiled line from ahead or astern.

how I like to attach my ropes …

– Last Updated: Feb-17-12 11:47 PM EST –

...... and I use 1/2" exclusively cause it feels much better in the hands (but 3/8" ain't terrible) .

To the carry handles is perfect . Don't tie them on though . Make an overhand loop in one end of your 25' rope . The loop should be 8" long for easy and quick use . Just put the loop under the carry handle and pull the rope through the loop from over the top . The knot of the loop will also finally go through the loop itself and a then your out of rope to pull and it's snug on the carry handle . Take it off and on in a blink of an eye without ever having to tie or untie a knot ... works great .

I have loops in one end of all my ropes . A rope is a multi purpose item that can used for several different things (but just one at a time , lol) . Two ropes , each having a loop in one end can quickly be joined together by the loops ... that same loop allows you to fit around a tree (or anytjing else) just as easy as the carry handle . It also becomes my anchore line when I want it to ... the same rope ties down the canoe on the truck , makes a camp overhead line for hanging stuff , and you get the idea ... anything a rope can be used for , so buy good quality rope because it's important stuff when out on the water and in camp . For water and camp uses , flexable and softer in your hand rope is more important stiffer skined abrasion resistent types .

And don't forget your good strong and sharp knife ... I keep a Buck Woodsman on me , phenolic handle (better than wood handle I think) , lighter weight too ... it's fixed blade 7-3/4" , very convenient size , sharpens well . I like a solid grip handle over any rubber type .

When the weather gets warmer , remember the sun is much more potent on the water ... think things like more sunblock , lip sunblock , wide brim hat and stuff like that .

A bowline is quicker

– Last Updated: Feb-17-12 11:47 PM EST –

I surely don't mean to say your method isn't just fine, but a person who's good with rope can tie or untie a bowline much quicker than threading a few feet of rope through a loop. Takes about two and a half seconds to tie or untie a bowline, 4 seconds if you really go slow. Of course, this guy knows rock climbing so he can probably give BOTH of us lessons in working with rope! Besides being good at tying knots, the main thing I try to remember is that rope is better for pulling things than pushing things. :)

lol …
… the whole idea of the loop method is there is no knot and it always works the same .

I like the ropes aren’t too good for pushing , lol …

Ropes and knots
Yep, I’ve got years of rope time, and knot tying experience. I’ve got lots of rope lying around also, but it’s mostly all 9 - 11mm dynamic. Marine rope is a new thing to me. How about 16 meters of this…

Cheap rope…
The hardware store here has some hollow braided floating polypro 3/8", $6 for 50 ft. Any reason that would not work for my purposes?

cheap braided polypro …

– Last Updated: Feb-19-12 8:58 PM EST –

...... it's a last resort rope in my book , not very strong , abraids easily , nasty on hands when wet , doesn't knot very good ... but it coils well and doesn't suck up water .

Makes an ok anchor line , I keep 100' of 3/8" in my stock and put another 100' on the nephew's Jon boat as a river anchor rode . It's a cooperative anchor line , the 3/8" polypro is good enough for light boats like his Jon/jet because it does coil up well on the deck and feeds out w/o tangling . Since it's cheap and easily replacable , and cooperative , it works ok .

Nice 7/16" polyester braid w/core is a tad stiff but very abrasion resistent and comfortable in hand .

Nylon braid w/core is the most comfortable in hand , and I like it , has that soft feel . It does soak up some water , and will stretch a bit when it gets wet , moderately abrasion resistent . Even though the nylon soaks up a little water , for canoe use I don't find that any negetive at all because we're only talking about 25'-30' lengths , and it's positives of handling well , comfort and abrasion resistence far out weigh the minor water issue for me .

Couldn't tell what that rope you linked was made out of but it looked like it would serve you well . I'm guessing it's a polyester sheathing (??) .

You know ropes , get a nice one for your canoe . Consider thicker than 3/8" . Think about pulling your loaded canoe through some river grasses , skinny waters , fast currents , etc. and think about the strain against your hands (maybe even wet and/or cold hands) . 1/2" is definately not too big .

Good stuff
That’s an NFPA-compliant water rescue line. Probably overkill for a simple painter, but nice stuff. I use 100% polypro water rescue rope but it’s not as strong as the stuff with a nylon or Spectra core.

Bought some Sterling…
I ended up buying some Sterling 9mm rescue rope. It feels like a very nice rope.

The ice is finally gone here. I know the water is still super cold, but I’ve gotta get this boat out. Saturday is supposed to be 55 F and sunny with no wind. I’m going out and see if I can actually make this thing go!

just be careful …

– Last Updated: Mar-08-12 5:12 PM EST –

....... the water is cold and dangerous if you end up in it .

Stay "really" close to shore just in case you have to swim .

Think now about how you will handle an upset and swim in the cold water . It's probably not going to happen , but what will you do in the cold water if it does . Give special thought to that now and have a realistic and survivable plan all ready to be executed .

My plan would be to stay really close to shore and swim out of the water really quick ... plus grab that dry bag full of dry cloths and fire making supplies before abandoning the boat .

You just have to have a plan and then I think it's Ok to go test her out for the 1st time in the "really" cold water ... just try not to go getting brave and stretching things on this trip to much ... cold water and you in it is very dangerous , you can easily become debilitated fast , you have to get out of it quick and then get dry again quick ... just be ready . Have fun !!

I'm assuming you don't have a drysuit and submersion gear .

The most basic rule for staying upright

– Last Updated: Mar-08-12 3:54 PM EST –

People new to small boats always require a bit of time to "re-calibrate" their instincts about balance, motion and support, and getting in and out of the boat is where this usually shows up. Until you are familiar with the fact that a boat that's been set off-balance cannot be used for support to keep yourself from plopping in the water, there's a simple rule that is just about foolproof.

When climbing in and out of the boat, or when moving about within the boat, keep your head directly over your feet, and keep your feet near the centerline of the boat.

If you do that, there will be no need for the boat to supply torque to keep you upright - something it has very little ability to do (but that's what you are instinctively - and mistakenly - counting on when you grab the gunwales to prevent yourself from tipping over). You should hold the gunwales lightly to stay "oriented" with the boat (you can even totally support yourself that way, equally with both hands, while repositioning your feet, as long as you follow the rule about the whereabouts of your head and feet), but grabbing the gunwales once the boat is already tipping over only hastens the tipping process. Your particular canoe is pretty stable, but stretch that basic head-over-feet rule too far and any canoe can tip.

One More Rule

– Last Updated: Mar-08-12 6:13 PM EST –

Okay, there's another way that newbies often use as a method to end up in the water. Don't park the boat with one end on shore and the rest of the boat in the water while getting in or out. Newbies are especially "fond" of this method when getting out, whereby once the bow has been run up onto the beach, the bow paddler gets out and "helps" the stern paddler by dragging the front end of the boat onto higher ground. Once that's been done, the boat is supported almost entirely by the two pointy ends, so naturally it tips over easily.

Get in and out with the boat parallel to the bank.

Once the water is warm, you can experiment with tipping over, but this isn't the time of year to be learning by that method.

Thanks for the tips guys!
I do not have a drysuit or any cold water gear. This first trip will just be my wife and I (no kiddos). We will stay super close to shore. I’ll report back, hopefully dry!

gbg is 100 % correct …

– Last Updated: Mar-08-12 11:07 PM EST –

....... lol , about how "easy it is" to topple the canoe by having the bow just "ever so slightly" pulled up onto the shore . As soon as the bow paddler steps out and pulls the canoe just a tad more onto shore , there she goes . Even in the sitting position the stern paddler can experience an Oh S**t moment ... better for now to pull up paralell to shore and step out from the side , keep the "whole" canoe floating that way .

Not to say the bow 1st into shore isn't doable , and I still do that some times , but it's a real ballancing act for the stern paddler after the bow paddler exits . Sometimes I'll just pull the bow straight into shore as fast as we can like that so the love of my life (bow paddler) can just step right out , but afterwards I stay seated and pull up differently to get myself out . Too many times has she politely tried to extend the favor back to me by grabbing that bow and pulling it onto shore thinking she's going to make my deboarding easier and Oh S**t ... I almost end up diving over the side even while sitting . Though I'm not concerned about ramming the bow of my canoe up onto shore , you probably should and will be cause it scratches and puts wear on the bow stem . Just a funny thought but I'm going to say it anyway ... the shore is "ALWAYS" higher than the water .

Good one gbg !!

Getting dunked in really cold water (notice how I keep mentioning that) right next to the shore while de-boarding or boarding probably isn't going to be a serious danger , but it probably will make a mess of things and end the day out right then and there .

The thing I wanted mention about your plan to stay close to shore is this ... not "every section" of shoreline is easily accessable from the water , no matter how close you are to it . Some shoreline sections are heavily blocked by fallen trees , limbs , submerged branches , and a host of other objects . Other sections have seriously step banks or even vertical rock walls . Not only can those things make it virtually impossible to get onto shore from the water , those things in themselves becomes entrapments if you get tangled up in them ... and they can grab onto you pretty good , snag you so to speak , even in non-moving lake waters .

So watch the shoreline closely to make sure you can swim "all the way to it" . If you feel the shore is too cluttered , maybe some other paddle place would be worth considering for now ... just saying since your "if I have to" swim to shore plan is what your counting on in these cold waters .

You must have been looking at my lake…

– Last Updated: Mar-09-12 9:03 PM EST –


The lake we will be learning to paddle on, Harlan County Reservoir, has lots of trees and submerged logs around the shoreline. It also has lots of vertical cliffs. I've been considering this all week as we decide on a spot for our first learning exercises.

On another note, that river that I was talking about in another thread, the Republican River. It's the river that feeds the reservoir. The normal outflow downstream from the dam is around 200 cfs. Nebraska DNR says about 500 cfs is about perfect for canoeing it. For 10 days they are releasing 1200 cfs to help clear out vegetation. That would probably be quite a ride. I'm going down to the dam to take a look tomorrow after we paddle. Not that I would get on that, I just want to see what 1200 cfs running through there looks like.

don’t do it …

– Last Updated: Mar-09-12 9:37 PM EST –

...... forget that river right now .

Moving water takes a little bit of experience and time to have good and safe control of your canoe on . It's the kind of thing you start out slow and work your way up on current speeds . Any dam release is major water to be dealing with . Water is powerful stuff , especially during high and fast flows .

A new tandem team takes awhile to get coordinated and have confident and comfortable control . Take it easy on each other and don't argue or get upset when things aren't working as smoothly as you want (bite your tongue/watch your mouth) ... be patient and let the mistakes happen w/o getting frustrated . It will all work out smoothly and start to become second nature to both of you before you know it , just takes time working as a team .

Stay out of that river for now ... water is really cold and it's the worst place to screw up in right now ... be patient and smart , you all got kids who still need you .

When you get out of control on moving water , things can go downhill quick .

Launch that canoe and just sit in it , try a few circles left and right , do some straight ahead b-lines , try some reverse , stretch your wings slowly ... remember priorty #1 ... stay in the canoe not the water and all else will work itself out .

Have fun Mr. anxious , take dam good care of that wife , keep her safe . The water is cold plainsman , deadly cold , I'm not kidding or exagerating .

If you really want to know what I'm talking about ... launch your canoe empty with only you in it (not wife) , ask wife on shore to hold the tether line to you and canoe while you paddle out 10'-15' , then roll her over , swim like hell back to the launch ... 5 mins. and you will know .

We won’t be on the river…
…we are just planning to take a look at it to see what 1200 cfs looks like. We definately would not even consider paddling anything like that at this point. I’m confident that we will be a fine paddling team. We’ve been climbing together for 10 years and there is no one else I would rather have on the other end of my rope! Or the other end of my boat!

Report on first time out…
Despite high winds, my wife and I paddled all afternoon. We have a lot of work to do! Today was a whole lot of zigging and zagging. in the end though, we had a good laugh at ourselves.

The Eveningstar is extremely stable. We have rented some canoes in the past and this one is definately way more stable, comfortable, and surprisingly nimble compared to the aluminum rentals. We are super happy with our choice.

Starting Monday we are supposed to have temps near 80F, and no wind. We plan to go out 3 times during the week!

Glad to hear it.
Thanks for the report. I always find it enjoyable when people who seem to have the potential to get hooked on paddling talk about how things are going.